Who Is My Chinese Husband? | Speaking of China

6 Responses

  1. Bedlam
    Bedlam December 13, 2010 at 9:13 pm | | Reply

    He knows who he is, but just like you, we all still like to hear them again.

    It’s nice to hear about someone who’s willing to coddle to our irrationalities once in awhile.

  2. Chris
    Chris December 14, 2010 at 1:23 am | | Reply

    As a Chinese-Canadian, I’ve often wondered the same thing.
    When I’m in Canada, strangers initially think i’m “that Asian guy” with whatever stereotypes they had in mind. The minute I open my mouth, they know this is a straight up Canadian guy they’re talking to. And that’ll go on UNTIL they ever see me talking in Chinese to a Chinese friend -> they’ll always do a double-take and figure I’m not quite as Canadian as they thought. Some will comment: “Whoa dude, you know how to speak Chinese or was it Japanese?” And then some will ask me about the specifics of Chinese culture, like “So I heard there’s two Chinese languages, like mandarin and cantonese?” and “So do you like eat rice every day?” and “where are you really from” etc.

    In China, strangers initially think I’m straight up Chinese. UNTIL I open my mouth, and something is amiss. Eye contact excessive. Too assertive. Conversation too straightforward. The dialect is slightly off. All are curious and some begin to get very suspicious and ask just where am I from etc.

    Although I have learned to behave as a Chinese Chinese should behave, so now I’m able to fool your average Wang where i’m from into believing I’m really just “tu haizi” without a trace of “yang qi”

    literally ‘dirty kid’ (colloq: good ol’ yellow/local guy) without ‘Ocean smell’ (colloq:hint of foreignness)

  3. Chris
    Chris December 14, 2010 at 1:57 am | | Reply

    “For John, his identity was his family — from his living relatives to the ancestors pictured in the foyer of his family home, who he worshiped every year during Chinese New Year and the Tomb-Sweeping Festival. He was never socialized to think about who he was, as an individual — the way I always had, as a child.”

    Although many families in China still strongly uphold traditional Chinese values, some do not. My one grandfather, CCP anti-Japanese vet, grew up seeing the horrors of warlord-era and Japanese-controlled China. His idea of a new China included equality for women(no chinese footbinding, ofc) no emperors, no imperialism, no landlord/servantry, no religious ceremonies etc. Other grandfather was a univ prof, and had very similar views. So for better or worse, people in my family have never taken traditional chinese culture seriously, particularly my mom’s side.

    My mom’s side of family is wild with personality! I love them so. At family gatherings, the women shriek with laughter and sometimes they may even cry over a disagreement, especially when grandma joins sides(but they always mean well) The guys chuckle and roar over the good times and chatter away at the bad times. We all dare to agree/disagree, even with the eldest. Nothing is left unshared, there are no secrets on mom’s side. In the end, they head out and pretend to be quiet little chinese people 🙂 However my dad’s side is very introverted and only small talk is made at such gatherings. 🙁

    So after finding that I didn’t have a girlfriend, my aunt and uncle have seriously informed me that they understand “how it is like in the West” and that “In the West, you must be brave chase the girls! Yes.. there is no need to be shy! It does not matter if she is white! Seriously! But ah only chase the ones worth chasing, you can’t “suibian” chase.. ” (gee thanks uncle)

    (hey Jo, maybe i should make about all this instead of spamming so much haha)

  4. melektaus
    melektaus December 20, 2010 at 1:11 am | | Reply

    I think many Chinese people don’t know who they are because they have lost much of their cultural identity. During the cultural revolution, much was lost and today, traditional culture is replaced with materialism which often leaves those empty with any kind of cohesive personal identity. Sometimes I think there should be a new Chinese religion which provides for a new narrative which the Chinese people can readily identify with, incorporate into their lives and relevant is to today’s times.

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